WIMMERA residents have thrown their support behind Horsham Rural City Council’s push for passenger trains.
The Mail-Times reported on Wednesday that council wants a passenger rail service to run through the Wimmera to Ararat, where it would connect with Melbourne-bound trains.
Council met with the Southern Grampians and Glenelg shire councils, which have also called for passenger trains for their region.
More than 120 people have commented on the Mail-Times’ story, with most supporting the proposal.
To read all the comments, click here.
Horsham woman Lucy Wooster said the region deserved a passenger rail service.
“This would make life so much easier for people travelling from town to town,” she said.
“I also think it would bring more people to Horsham.”
Many readers said that while travelling by train was preferable to bus, The Overland was too expensive.
Horsham woman Theresa O’Loughlin said the Wimmera’s passenger rail service should never have been stopped.
“We definitely need rail travel more than ever, because the roads are so loaded with huge transports,” she said.
“B-doubles are frightening enough and the thought of triple road trains, especially when they move in convoy, is more than we should be made to endure.”
But Paul Yole said Horsham Rural City Council was ‘anti-rail’.
He said council had chased rail freight onto road during a dispute between Qube and WimmRera Container Line for the shared use of Wimmera Intermodal Freight Terminal at Dooen.
“It is not as easy as saying we want a passenger train back,” he said.
“There are numerous companies to deal with, namely the Australian Rail Track Corporation because it would have to give the train a slot due to freight running on the line throughout the day.
“There would maybe be two trains a day maximum at a guess, depending on what slots are available.”
Horsham Mayor David Grimble said he wasn’t surprised Wimmera residents were passionate about a return to passenger rail.
“For us, it is about presenting a really solid business case because currently we might not have a catchment big enough to make it viable,” he said.
“We have to come up with some really good front-line solutions and working with our neighbouring and southern councils will add a lot of weight.
“We will have more meetings with other councils and come up with a business case to take to the State Government, but there will be some time before that will happen.”